/Hôr/ A Sex Worker’s Journey

If a “Jane Doe” could share her story, this would be it. Childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence, murder, and drug addiction led me into a life on the streets, not simply as a prostitute but, in our society, as a whore. I use this term responsibly, not sensationally, because it was the only term that ever hurt me. This story is about my thirty-year fight for freedom, healing, and the work of finding my purpose. As an act of subversion, I became an Elder in the United Methodist tradition to address Christianity’s complicity in propagating the misogynistic, anti-other, anti-woman climate at the root of colonization. Whore is not a religious work or a recovery guide.

I recorded my story to support women like me, to honor those who will never return home, and reinvigorate the general reader’s ability or desire to connect the anonymous face of the woman on the margins with a meaningful narrative that dismisses stereotypes and judgments while questioning how society is complicit.

The work of anti-sex trafficking has peaked as a global concern. There are countless agencies, nonprofits, facilities, residential programs, faith-based movements, and community advocates doing this necessary work. My target audience, specifically, will be women, age 18 and older; the prostitute, women who have been forced or coerced into trafficking, and those who struggle with addiction or are in a relationship with someone who is addicted. My memoir also speaks to those who serve in social and public service industries: addiction and recovery, rehabilitative inmate programs, legislative bodies, religious institutions, and child welfare advocates. In addition, the general reader will find the narrative interesting in that it will expand their understanding of women who struggle with addiction and other life-limiting difficulties.

Although black and brown women hold the highest statistics of women being trafficked, we are underrepresented in forums, advocacy and agency leadership, and the stories being told. There is the intersectionality of systems of oppression that arise in the black and brown female body; my story reflects these intersections and the barriers they create. This memoir is about more than my story; it is about the process of reclaiming my life in the face of systemic resistance and oppression.

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